Who should be the next Leafs coach?
It is looking more and more like Ron Wilson will finish this season behind the bench of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That is probably a good thing, considering that if/when GM Brian Burke decides to make a change, there will be more head coaching options in the summer. In particular, Kirk Muller could be available. And not to jump a step and look too far ahead, but he would be the ideal candidate.
That is not just because everyone seems to think Muller, who is currently an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens, would make a great head coach. But because he appears to be the anti-Wilson. And after three miserable seasons, a change is all that fans really want.
The question is whether Muller returning to Toronto, where he spent two seasons as a player, is even a remote possibility.
Muller, who was hired as the Canadiens assistant coach in 2006, is reportedly in the final year of his contract. And a story by Montreal hockey writer François Gagnon in Cyberpresse.ca suggests that the 44-year-old is interested in becoming a head coach.
That could happen in Montreal. But it does not appear as though head coach Jacques Martin is going anywhere.
So Muller’s options would appear to be the New Jersey Devils (who drafted Muller second overall in 1984), the nearby Ottawa Senators and, of course, the Leafs.
Of all the teams, Toronto makes the most sense. That is, from the Leafs perspective.
For one, Muller is a Kingston, Ont., native. Second, he already has a reputation as a players’ coach. And if there is anything that the Leafs need during this rebuilding phase, it is someone who will coax a modi***** of talent into playing above its ability.
That might have happened when Paul Maurice was the coach. But it has not happened under Wilson.